Sethuraman Rao



Prof. Sethuraman Rao is an Associate Professor at Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications, Amrita University, Kollam, Kerala, India. He holds a Masters degree in Computer Science and a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Madras, India. He has over 20 years of international experience in the networking industry having held technical and management positions at Juniper Networks, Alcatel-Lucent and a few startups.





Management of Urban Flooding using Crowd-Sourcing​


Urban flooding has become a common phenomenon worldwide in recent times. This is due to a combination of many factors such as unplanned growth in urban and suburban areas, improper maintenance of drainage and sewage facilities, indiscriminate conversion of many water bodies into building areas, unseasonal rainfall due to global warming, etc. As a part of this Indo-German joint research initiative on urban flooding code named, FloodEvac, Amrita Center for Wireless Networks and Applications (AmritaWNA) at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University in India has launched a project for monitoring and management of urban flooding using crowd-sourcing. This trend has been observed during the recent floods in Chennai, India and also in Philippines and China. Smart phones equipped with high speed data connectivity and high resolution cameras are ubiquitous these days especially among the urban community. Therefore, we plan to involve the local community in data gathering about the local flood situation and the relief and rescue needs and offerings in their neighbourhood.  Our crowd-sourced FloodEvac solution consists of a mobile application, a web application, and a Decision Support System (DSS).

The mobile application will run on the smart phones and can be used by the citizens to provide real-time data on the flood situation, hazards and also to request help and offer help. The citizens can request or offer supplies, shelter, medical treatment, services, and rescue. All the communication from the citizens will be geo-tagged and time-stamped for spatial and temporal aggregation and analysis.

Citizens will also be encouraged to upload visual information in the form of photos and videos. Computer vision algorithms will be used to analyse the visual media to assess the nature and extent of flooding.

The web application will provide the map based summary page to all the citizens. It will provide the latest flooding information, hazards, and requests and offers from citizens. The web application has an administrative section which allows in-depth spatial and temporal analysis of the flood situation and relief efforts. The Decision Support System (DSS) will process this data and provide the required information and issue notifications to the victims, relief workers, volunteers and the decision makers in the government. This data can also be used to assess the effectiveness of the action taken in the past and to assess the future planning needs.